Aztec building to be converted into retail, office space

Developer aims to restore exterior to former glory

By Barb McKay

Rodger Crane has a soft spot for dilapidated historical buildings.

So, when the Aztec Theatre came up for sale he decided to purchase it. Crane took possession of the building at the corner of Queen and Durham streets on Wednesday and had crews in immediately to begin demolishing the interior. Once completed, the building will feature seven units, each approximately 1,000 square feet in size with mezzanines. The units will front onto Durham Street.

Crane brings plenty of experience to this ambitious project. He has spent close to a decade transforming old buildings in Port Elgin into functional retail and residential spaces.

“We take a building every couple of years that is kind of run down and repurpose it,” he said.

Past projects have included the former Jangles Pub and Eatery building at Goderich and Gustavus streets and the old JK Hotel, which was converted into 11 rental condominiums. He is also involved with the Wismer House. This will be his first development project in Kincardine. Working with him is Tara-based architect David Debell.

“It is a shame that it is a beautiful old building that has been allowed to get rundown,” Crane said. “It has so much potential.”

Crane hopes to complete work on the exterior of the building before winter and would like to have the units ready by spring.

“We would like to restore the front of the building to what it looked like originally in 1929,” he said. “I’m really excited about how this is going to look. It is fun doing this sort of thing.”